What Should You Ask Your Doctor About a Cancer of Unknown Primary?

It’s important to have frank, open, and honest communication with your doctor about your condition. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, no matter how minor you think they are. For instance, consider these questions:

  • Should I have extensive testing to find out what kind of cancer of unknown primary (CUP) I have?
  • What kind of CUP do I have? How extensive is it?
  • Have you done all the appropriate tests on my biopsy specimen?
  • What are my treatment choices?
  • Are there any clinical trials I should think about taking part in?
  • Which treatment do you recommend, and why?
  • How long will treatment last? What will it involve? Where will it be done?
  • What are the likely side effects to the treatment(s) that you recommend?
  • What can I do to help reduce the side effects I may have from treatment?
  • What are the chances that my CUP will come back if initial treatment seems to be successful? What would we do if that happens?

Be sure to write down any questions that occur to you that are not on this list. For instance, you might want specific information about treatment recovery times. Or you may want to ask about second opinions.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master's-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Medical Review: July 2, 2014 Last Revised: January 27, 2016

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